The Museum of the Church of Saint Dominic
According to legend, the ancient Temple of the Dominican Friars in Cingoli was founded by San Domenico himself at the beginning of the 13th century “a little before his death”, in 1221. Since the building has been restored and rebuilt many times over the course of time, today there are only a few traces of the original structure of the 13th century, presumably in Romanesque style and plain in form. In particular, in the 16th century, the Church was subject to important construction works which presumptively determined the adaptation of the structures to the new architectural taste of that time. Indeed, the external part was restored with the raising of a new belfry and with the creation of an annexed building for the library; moreover, maybe the internal part was restored in a more compact way thanks to the wealthiest families of the town’s nobility who financed the extension and the adornment of the altars and the reconstruction or the restoration of the chapels of jus-patronage, as happened in this same period in the most important churches in Cingoli. An unmistakable example of which is that at the time the work “Madonna of the Rosary” finished by Lorenzo Lotto in the spring of 1539, was placed in the necessarily restored major altar.
The actual structure derives from the radical renovation the Church was subjected to by the initiative of the Dominican Friars in the second half of the 18th century. The works were managed by the architect Arcangelo Vici from Arcevia and they were finished with the help of his son, Andrea, a follower of Vanvitelli. The facade is unfinished, without cladding, made of an alternated series of bricks and stones interrupted by the opening of three gates and of a bow window. Instead, the internal part is perfect, built following a complex and detailed project based on an elongated central plan model.
Works on display
Madonna of the Rosary, 1539Description of the work
The town of Cingoli
Surrounded by one of the nicest, richest and rarest green areas of the Mediterranean landscape, Cingoli (631 metres above sea leve) rises in a panoramic viewpoint on the east part of the Adriatic side of the mountain chain generally known as Pre-Apennines; these peaks stand out on the high valley of the Musone river and behind them there are the out-and-out Apennines.
As the time went by, the topographical preeminence of Cingoli – which, according to an ancient myth is linked to an old sun cult connected with Picus and with the witch Circe – considered in relation with the magnificent scenic view it overlooks, hence the town becoming known as Balcone delle Marche (The Balcony of Marche). A “Lovely Position” from which it is possible to admire “Boundless Landscapes” in order to paraphrase what the artist Donatello Stefanucci said about a famous viewpoint of Cingoli painted by him (housed in the Pinacoteca Comunale (“City Art Gallery”) ). The homogeneity of the urban woven corresponds to a strong environmental cohesion.
The built-up area, whose good climate has been proverbial for five centuries now, harmoniously inserts in a landscape where the hand of man and of nature intertwine perfectly. This town is an example of the great charm of the typical atmosphere of other smaller and medium-sized centres of the ancient Picen province. At the same time, Cingoli is different for the nobility, the complex profundity and the glory of a past which is still perceivable today in the long shadows which the ancient elegant buildings cast on the squares and on the streets in the evening.